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Been offered brand new free school or last choice

(456 Posts)
Lazymama2 Wed 16-Apr-14 16:35:03

We're not sure what to do as have been offered a place at a brand new school which is with walking distance but has not been 'fitted out' yet (buildings are there). There is very little concrete info on term dates, start and finish times, curriculum and obviously no past performance on which to base a decision. Also no older kids to look up to. Other school is our last choice and has improved from satisfactory to good. DH does not want Dd to go to this school and would prefer private. I, on the other hand, quite like idea of a brand new school.

Thoughts/ideas anyone?

PS please dont turn this into a debate of state vs. private as I believe every parent does what is best for thier child/family circumstances and im not for/against one or the other.

Lallypop Mon 17-Jul-17 15:32:55

Same here. Lovely environment, children enjoyed themselves.
TBH I think all schools are going that way with the blazers. It's probably a requirement but I doubt any of the children wear them very often. The uniform itself was definitely OTT. I think I quite liked it though grin

QueenoftheAndals Mon 17-Jul-17 14:32:43

Went to the fete at Whitehall Park over the weekend and was impressed by how nice the new building is. The school uniform is a bit OTT though - do children really need to wear blazers in reception?

Whatawaytomakealiving Mon 29-May-17 19:07:13

Thenewbrown but of course no national performance data as there are no KS2 results. Hardly a fair comparison in terms of outcomes against other schools and easy for Ofsted to judge at this point.

Doesn't read, in my experience, as a school that 'only just missed out on outstanding'.

Lallypop Thu 25-May-17 14:57:52

smile thank you

TheNewBrown Thu 25-May-17 14:17:19

The OFSTED report for Whitehall Park School has actually just been published -
Download Here. They received a grade of Good with Outstanding features and reading the glowing report it looks like the school must have only just missed out on Outstanding.

A couple of my favourite comments:

“Parents are thrilled with the high-quality education their children receive at Whitehall Park. They can see how teachers excite and enthuse pupils in stimulating lessons.”

“The school’s work to promote pupils’ personal development and welfare is outstanding. Pupils are highly motivated learners. They talk confidently about how to improve their work. Staff and pupils have developed strong and respectful relationships. As a result, pupils respond positively in class to any adult interventions.”

I’ve been a parent of a child at the school since it first opened 3 years ago and it is great to see the amazing work done by the staff recognised by OFSTED. They really have built a school that will be the hub of our community for decades to come.

Lallypop Mon 22-May-17 18:04:17

The smaller the intake the better. That's what appealed to me about St. John's, it was a one form entry. It's so hard to get into an outstanding school. I live quite close to yerbury but am a few doors out of the catchment

QueenoftheAndals Mon 22-May-17 15:44:25

Coleridge is one of the most sought-after primaries around here and it's been rated Outstanding by Ofsted. That's why the catchment area is tiny. I think there are 3 classes of 30 kids in each year, whereas at Whitehall Park it's only 1 or 2?

Lallypop Mon 22-May-17 15:23:44

I've never heard of Coleridge. I take it you will be applying for the 2018 intake. There's a comparison website I used to compare the results of schools. Except Whitehall as there are no KS2 (I think) results, as they haven't had that intake yet but you can look on their website and it will show you KS1. Also they haven't updated Hungerford's new report.

QueenoftheAndals Mon 22-May-17 14:38:36

Whitehall is the closest school to me so that's why I'm considering it. Am actually in Haringey rather than Islington but right on the border so Islington schools are closer. Coleridge is the nearest Haringey school but their catchment area is usually tiny and other Haringey schools are too far away. The only Islington schools with big catchment areas are Duncombe and Hungerford so am glad to read some feedback about them. I also pass Montem regularly and don't like the look of it at all.

Lallypop Mon 22-May-17 12:27:24

Personally I don't like the vibe from Duncombe. I find it very dreary. Their results are pretty bad too. Regarding Hungerford their latest Ofsted report speaks volumes. Was rated inadequate and put into special measures. Their catchment area is also 2 miles, meaning it could have been a possibility.

QueenoftheAndals Mon 22-May-17 12:01:26

What's wrong with Duncombe and Hungerford?

Lallypop Mon 22-May-17 11:40:24

initially I was panicking about getting Duncombe or Hungerford so I guess I should be grateful I was even offered my second choice.

Lallypop Mon 22-May-17 11:37:12

After a lot of research this weekend I have happily decided to accept Whitehall park. The headteacher seems to be very knowledgable and is what I call a 'miracle head' someone who can turn around an underachieving school. Which is an extremely difficult thing to do. Their extra curricular activities are great. If any staff are reading this can you please do ballet lessons for reception children please smile. Their results are fantastic. I have a feeling that their Ofsted will be outstanding. Which means I have accepted at the perfect time as this school will be oversubscribed and will be the new grafton.
When I viewed the school back in November (I think) I thought the teaching methods were fantastic, children seemed happy and parents were friendly. The only thing which really put me off was the site. When I found out it was a temporary site then I had decided then and there that this was the school I wanted. So when I got my second choice I was slightly disappointed but after further research I was quite pleased. My best friends children attend the school too so that was a bonus. But I keep telling myself there was a reason I initially chose Whitehall park. So fingers crossed I have made the right decision.

QueenoftheAndals Mon 22-May-17 10:39:59

Am interested too, as some of the comments above seem a bit bot-like in their effusive praise.

Lallypop Sat 20-May-17 07:26:17

Help! I know this is an oldish post but I need some advice.
Back in November I went to view Whitehall park (temporary site) and St. John's upper Holloway. I really liked both. I loved the teaching methods, headteacher and the fact staff turnover was very low at Whitehall park. At St. John's I loved the way it was small, headteacher and the fact it was one form entry.
I chose Whitehall park as my first choice and St. John's as my second. I got St. John's. slightly dissapointed at first but after doing a bit more in depth research I noticed they were a pretty good school. Unfortunately as Whitehall park is a new school they have no statistics. I work in education and understand that results can be effected in many ways so I tried not to base my judgement too much on this.
I received a call yesterday offering me a place at Whitehall park. I now have no idea what to do.
Can any parents/staff give me some advice on Whitehall park as it stands now? All information seems to be quite old.

LocalMummyPerson Fri 28-Apr-17 00:02:40
Cross party MPs have criticised the Conservative's spending on new free schools in places that may not need extra capacity at the expense of other schools... which brought this thread to mind!

Claireblunderwood Wed 08-Mar-17 14:25:26

They really do read like PR-bot messages too, Sansary, don't they?

SansaryaAgain Tue 07-Mar-17 19:04:43

Hmm, I can't help but be a little suspicious that the most effusive comments about WPS come from posters who seem to have created a MN account just to post on this thread.

CBH1326 Tue 07-Mar-17 14:08:14

I have only heard fantastic things about Whitehall Park school. They have worked hard to get the new building ready and it looks great.

Claireblunderwood Tue 07-Mar-17 09:54:05

Well of course the great thing is now free schools can be officially selective (instead of effectively selective with feeder nurseries, ridiculous uniforms, compulsory Latin and 'zero tolerance' on urban hairstyles).

Perhaps Whitehall Park will redo their admissions arrangements accordingly. If they make sure they only have high achieving kids, they'll get great results which will prove that they're brilliant schools.

LocalMummyPerson Tue 07-Mar-17 08:59:11

Gretchen I totally agree- it is really hard to run a decent school. Especially if you don't select the intake. Professionals with decades of experience find it hard. The mix of well-meaning amateurs and private companies looking to make money by lucrative contracts with free schools, all being able to have a punt at it, doesn't inspire me with confidence.
Councils should never have been legally stopped from opening new community schools with proper planning, where places are needed. It's ridiculous.
Meanwhile, school budgets are being cut..

Anyway if you want to hear Toby Young I think this is the link to the Today Programme for today - still on air so I don't think the listen again link is ready:

AndNoneForGretchenWieners Tue 07-Mar-17 08:37:02

I would home school rather than send my child to a free school, they are astoundingly difficult to run and often set up by educationalists with no experience of running a business, which a FS really is. They then end up cutting costs to balance their budget, and the provision is impacted severely. Some are fine, but it's too much of a gamble for me unless they are part of a huge multi academy chain.

LocalMummyPerson Tue 07-Mar-17 08:32:31

Yuck just listening to Toby Young on the Today programme claiming that free schools are the most cost effective way of delivering new school places and that there is no evidence they are set up in places not needed.
I think we could argue that point with him judging by the examples on this thread..

but then it probably IS quite cost effective if you can get parents to give up their time and resources to set up a new school. hmm
(Just wondering what happens in areas when it's not an option to be able to do that, for many parents..)

SansaryaAgain Sun 26-Feb-17 12:44:21

So basically the school used parents as unpaid labour instead of hiring anyone to do it? Hmm.

Islingtonparent31 Wed 15-Feb-17 15:12:53

Ofsted for new schools does not have to happen for 3 years which means it will happen this year... in the meantime the schools ( great) results are on the website..... But a lot of the parents there go there because of word of mouth about how HAPPPY the kids and parents are- not because of an Ofsted number....

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